Post # 1
I’ve decided on making my parents and in-laws wine gift baskets for their wedding gift. Both sets of parents enjoy a good glass of wine, both white & red, on occassion. I like drinking wine but I’m no expert in the different types. Any suggestions would be great. I’m also thinking of adding chocolates, cheese, etc. in there! Has anyone done this?
Post # 3
What a nice idea! For reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is always a popular choice. It’s the wine many people think of when they think of "red wine." Look for something from 2004-2006 from Napa and you’ll have lots of yummy bottles to choose from. Another option for red wine would be a Pinot Noir. I’ve found that if you get a bottle of pinot noir produced in the Russian River Valley (it will say it on the label) you are almost guaranteed to love it.
For a white wine, many casual wine drinkers tend to prefer a sweet white. Reislings are popular, and if you choose a bottle produced in Germany with the initials "QMP" on the label, it will surely be wonderful (the initials stand for "Qualitätswein mit Prädikat" which means "Quality Product" in German).
If they are big wine drinkers it might be fun to throw a dessert wine into the baskets as well – either Port or Frangelico would be a special treat.
Post # 4
It depends a lot on what you want to spend…and how much of a wine connoisseur they are.
I think the "standards" are usually a merlot or a lighter cabernet (many find them too acidic, though) for reds and a chardonnay for whites.
In my opinion, thouhg, merlots are often very flat and unintersting. Depending on your price range, you can often find a better Pac. NW Pinot Noir for the same price. These are v. drinkable wines that appeal to a pretty wide pallette. Try something like Columbia Crest (in terms of easily being available nationwide and not too expensive). My Maid/Matron of Honor is from Oregon and she loves Ponzi. From California I also like the PN from Estancia’s Pinnacles Estate.
I personally hate most chardonnays, but I think that’s what people think of when they think white wine. And I think it’s your safest bet. I see that Clos du Bois has one for under $20 at CostCo. I’m going to disagree and say I would shy away from sweeter wines, b/c I think it’s not something that everyone likes…definitely a specific taste. A viognier might be a good compromise there…but there are plenty of bad ones so that can be iff-y.
You might also consider one of the websites that pre-packages wine gift baskets.
If you put together your own, I would highly recommend going to a good wine store (if you are looking to spend a bit more) or to CostCo (if you are on more of a budget). Any decent wine store will provide good advice without being too snobby. CostCo typically has an excellent selection of wines at a variety of pricepoints. They display the robert Parker wine scores which are not infallible but are usually pretty reliable. anything above 90 is probably going to be fine unless they have very specific pallettes. If that’s the case, I think you might be better off buying them each one more expensive bottle that needs to age..kind of like a keepsake. My Fiance did that for my Dad the first time he spent the holidays with our family and my Dad really appreciates it (he has a wine cellar in his basement, though, so he has a place to age it).
Post # 5
Ooooooo yummy idea! I LOVE boursin cheese. I recently discovered it.
My fave white is Dr. Beckermann’s Reinheissen from Trader Joe’s. Don’t let the $4.99 price tag scare you off. It’s fab. For a red I like pinot noirs or CHiLEAN cabernets…they are sweeter and less bitter than american/california ones. good for people without too sophisticated of a palet. If they’re really into wine I’d go Chianti which is way too rich for me.
Moscato d’asti is a nice sparkling celebratory wine. Sweet and desserty but my Fiance and I love drinking it while watching Tv. It makes us so happy!
Post # 6
thanks for all the advice. I’m going to write a few of these down and also get suggestions for the wine shoppe. I got my idea from looking at gift baskets online. Unfortunately Maryland does not allow shipments of wine to residents. So I figured I would put together my own, it would be more personal anyway! I have to pull out some creativity!! eek.
Post # 7
Check around your area to see if there are any wine-tastings coming up. We have a fantastic wine bar in our town and they do weekly wine-tastings which is a great way to see what you like or don’t like. The same grape can vary in taste from year to year, so sometimes you’ll find an ’05 will have a different taste to an ’02 of the same type due to weather etc.
Also, some of the bigger liquor stores offer tastings from time to time so that might be an option for you too.
Post # 8
Hey!My suggestion would be to ask siblings/FI what your parents & IL’s favorite wine type is. Everyone’s taste is vastly different. I love sweeter wines so my fav tend to be Rieslings & Fruit wines. The Fiance likes Pinot’s more. Find out what type of wine they like more…do they like sweeter whites? Drier Reds? Then I would suggesting supporting your local vineyards as oppose to buying ones from out of State. Take a trip one weekend with the Fiance [there’s gotta be a wine trail in MD somewhere!] and go winetasting and support the local vineyards. Some of my favorite wines are ones from local vineyards that are available only at their retail storefront.
Post # 9
That sounds like an excellent gift idea! My suggestion for white wine would be a viognier (it’s also fairly sweet) and for red I would suggest a Cabernet Franc.
Post # 10
Oh, this is a great gift idea.
Will you or your fiance be visiting either of your parents before the wedding? If so, can you discretely snoop through the wine they have on hand. If so, then make a mental (or physical) note of the type and brand of wine. Armed with that, you should be able to go to any small liquor store and have them help you. (I suggest a small liquor store because grocery stores/giant liquor stores/etc generally seem have less knowledgable people…at least around here).
If not, I think you could go two routes with this. Either very safe, or very "horizon-pushing." If you go safe, I’d get a Cabernet Sauvignon and/or a Merlot. For white, I’d get a Chardonnay and/or Pinot Grigio. California, Austrailia, Italy and France are all relatively "traditional" places to pick from.I don’t have specific brand selections for these though…
For horizon-pushing, you could consider picking up some up and coming wines/areas of the world. (These are mostly what my fiance and I drink, so I’ve got lots of ideas here). For reds, consider a Malbec from Argentina (Alamos, Ique and Zolo all make great ones for about $10/bottle) or a Carmenere from Chile (Caseillero de Diablo — or a close spelling– makes a great one). You could also look for South African or Spanish wines — I think Luzon is a South African Brand and Wrongo Dongo is a Spanish one. I know much less about white wines – but Riesling and Gewurztaminer (my favorite weird name) are sweet ones. Torrentes from Argentina is supposed to be good and less sweet.
Personally, I like giving the "horizon-pushing" wines as gifts. They tend to be less expensive for a better bottle of wine (since they’re less well known) and I find it fun to see people enjoy a type of wine they haven’t heard before.
Anyway, that’s like my 0.12 but I hope it helps!
Post # 11
I love Jacobs Creek anf Robert Mondavi’s Merlot and Cabernet. Chateau St. Michelle Reisling is by far my favorite Reisling. It’s sweet but not sickly sweet
Post # 12
ooh ooh — don’t forget to add one of these babies: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000COC5MK …. it’s an electric wine opener!! They are awesome! And they are only about $25 .. depending on where you get them. We found them at BJs Wholesale Club near Christmas and got them for everyone and they are used all the time. Also what about putting some cute cocktail napkins and some bottle stoppers?
Oh and don’t forget the crackers if you’re going for cheese! 🙂
Post # 13
If you are looking for an awesome wine opener get the Rabbit, and no not that rabbit. Re: Wines I am a total vinophile and I love getting new horizon pushing wines. I personally prefer reds but I love Syrahs (very woody, earthy taste), Castle Rock Pinot Noir is top notch. I really like Yellow Tail’s Riesling it tends to be just the right amount of sweet. Francis Copolla wines are awesome. This article has some good choices http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/best-american-wines-fifteen-dollars-and-under-merlot-and-pinot-noir
Also Miss Perfume’s Fiance is a bit of a wine connoisseur if I remember correctly and she posted a list of the wines they are using at their wedding.
Post # 14
Thanks so much for the suggestions bees!
Post # 15
You got so many great suggestions on this thread, but I couldn’t resist a few more!
If your FI’s parents aren’t big wine people, I agree that Merlots, Cabernets, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are the safest bets for crowd-pleasers. But if you want to go a bit more "out there," here are my suggestions.
* A Chablis from France (not to be confused with the inexpensive and not-very-good Chablis wine from California). These are unoaked Chardonnays, and they’re lovely, but a bit hard to find.
* Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Italy. These are dry, light, food-friendly reds, and usually around $10 a bottle.
* A Shiraz-Viognier blend — my favorites are Shoofly Aussie Salute and Yalumba. It’s a red wine with a healthy dollop of white wine for added fruitiness, and they’re really fun and yummy.
I also second the suggestions for Torrontes, Malbec, and Carmenere. South American wines are really good and budget-friendly right now. Dry Riesling is also a wonderful white wine — I don’t love sweet Rieslings, but the dry ones are fantastic, and can really change your impression of the Riesling grape. Pacific Rim is one of my favorite dry Rieslings, and it’s pretty widely available.
Post # 16
This is mostly just an interesting tidbit, but Cabernet Sauvignon wines are only made in the US. In France (where the grapes originate), Bordeaux wines are made with no more than 70% Cabernet grapes, because they are too tannic and harsh. They are usually mixed with Merlot grapes or others.
It might be worth looking into some Bordeaux wines instead of Cabernets or Merlots. They are a good balance of the two grapes.